7 Steps to The Perfect Meeting Agenda
According to a study conducted by Verizon Business, meetings are the #1 time waster in the workplace. They are often unorganized, have no purpose and go off-topic. It’s also no mistake that most of these meetings are missing a clear meeting agenda.
Meeting objectives give adults a reason to meet. If there is no clear objective, there’s no point in the meeting. This objective should outline exactly why you are holding a meeting and what you hope to accomplish as a result.
Here are 7 guidelines to walk you through how to create an effective meeting agenda:
1) Create your meeting agenda 3 days in advance
Follow a process, whether it’s sent through email or printed and distributed, make sure everyone on your team knows what to expect.
Sending it in advanced ensures that attendees have ample time to prepare or read through any notes they will need before the meeting and raises flags if the objective doesn’t match their expectations.
2) Start with the simple details
- What time it should start? (end time is determined after agenda topics are set)
- Who should be attending? (more on this in day 2)
- The place or dial-in information for accessing the meeting
3) The Meeting Objective
- Before you start writing an agenda what is the goal of this meeting?
- If asked why you are meeting, the objective should answer this in no more than 2 sentences.
- Once that goal is established, prioritize the list of topics from most important to least (to ensure the most important pieces get accomplished).
4) Time Per Topic
Let the content dictate how long each topic should take. Don’t fall into the trap of overscheduling time per topic.
- ex: Introductions (2 minutes)
People tend to schedule time-based on the automatic 30 minute time block in their default calendar even if it could be done in 15 minutes or requires 45. Let the content dictate time, not the software.
5) Keep the agenda to less than 5 topics
No one wants to spend 2 hours in a meeting. Long agendas seem daunting and often don’t get read.
6) Include any other pertinent information for the meeting.
- Ex: @Stephen will be taking meeting minutes.
- Ex2: Please read the attached document on weekly sales numbers prior to the meeting.
7) What if someone sends an invite with no agenda?
Come up with a company policy to deal with agenda-less meetings.
A common solution is to decline any invites that don’t include the necessary information to have a productive meeting.
Below is an example of a typical agenda with a clear purpose:
Sample Meeting Agenda Format for Dunder Mifflin:
Objective: Determine projected sales goals for 2014.
1) Intro (2 minutes)
2) Review previous years sales metrics (10 minutes)
3) Review upcoming paper lead accounts (5 minutes)
4) Set targeted goals (5 minutes)
* Please review the attached doc with last years numbers prior to attending.
* Stephen will be taking notes to be sent out after meeting